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Kouwenhoven, Stefanie M. P.; Antl, Nadja; Twisk, Jos W. R.; Koletzko, Berthold V.; Finken, Martijn J. J. and van Goudoever, Johannes B. (2021): Methods to Assess Fat Mass in Infants and Young Children: A Comparative Study Using Skinfold Thickness and Air-Displacement Plethysmography. In: Life-Basel, Vol. 11, No. 2, 75

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Background: Traditionally, fat mass is estimated using anthropometric models. Air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) is a relatively new technique for determining fat mass. There is limited information on the agreement between these methods in infants and young children. Therefore we aimed to longitudinally compare fat mass percentage values predicted from skinfold thicknesses (SFTs) and ADP in healthy infants and young children. Methods: Anthropometry and body composition were determined at the ages of 1, 4, and 6 months and 2 years. We quantified the agreement between the two methods using the Bland-Altman procedure, linear mixed-model analysis, and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). Results: During the first 6 months of life, fat mass% predicted with SFT was significantly different from that measured with ADP in healthy, term-born infants (n = 245). ICCs ranged from 0.33 (at 2 years of age) and 0.47 (at 4 months of age). Although the mean difference (bias) between the methods was low, the Bland-Altman plots showed proportional differences at all ages with wide limits of agreement. Conclusions: There is poor agreement between ADP and SFTs for estimating fat mass in infancy or early childhood. The amount of body fat was found to influence the agreement between the methods.

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